miércoles, 24 de febrero de 2016

Steps towards a EU #DigitalSkills strategy

The European Union performed every year the European Semester of economic policy coordination. As a part of this work, the European Commission assesses the relevant policy areas to boost growth and jobs in Europe. Among the areas analysed in the last years have been digital jobs and skills. The last assessment reveals again a worrisome panorama for Europe with 30% of the working population with no or low digital skills and 40% of the EU companies reporting hard-to-fill vacancies for ICT specialist. All the signs point to a lack of the needed human capital for the digital transformation of the EU economy and society.

Taking into account the above context, it is difficult to understand the European Union policy to promote digital skills adoption. Although the Digital Single Market Strategy contained a similar analysis as the one done in the European Semester, it does not contain any concrete measure for boosting digital skills and jobs. You will not find in the Digital Single Market Strategy nothing more than the ambiguous commitment of the European Commission "will address digital skills and expertise as a key component of its future initiatives on skills and training" and the intention to build this actions on past initiatives like the "Grand Coalition" or "EU code week" (initiatives that have not provided any significant advance). We will have to wait until the presentation of the "EU skill strategy" promised by the European Commission for 2016 during the last EU Telecom Council.

While the European Commission prepares the skills strategy, some interesting inputs have been published. Among the Member States, it deserves a read the report "Work, employment, digital: new directions" published by the French Digital Council. This paper contains 20 policy recommendations for the development of a skill strategy for the digital era. The recommendations are classified in six groups that deal with the need to foster the transition from analogue to digital jobs, tackle the change in labour relationships bring by internet platforms, promote an adoption of technology as a complement and not as a substitute of human jobs, the diversification of the learning contexts and the exploration of new models of solidarity and distribution of welfare.

Another interesting input for the EU digital skills strategy has been provided by the European Parliament. In January the Parliament approved its opinion on the Digital Single Market Strategy called "Towards a Digital Single Market Act". The whole document deserves a read because it is more than a simple opinion of the strategy proposed by the European Commission, the document contains a whole set of concrete measures that the Parliament encourages to be taken in order to recover the European leadership in the digital arena. Among these measures we can find some interesting proposal in the field of digital skills. The Parliament calls among others initiatives to the introduction of digital training in lifelong learning, the developing of a e-Learning curriculum, promoting digital skills among teachers, investing in the establshment of European networks for the teaching of media literacy and  the creation of an European Certification model for digital skills simlar to the European common framework of reference for language learning. 

The human capital is the only real critical input for the digital transformation of Europe. The sooner Europe takes step in order to bridge this deficit the easier will be to change the trend of digital decay in Europe. Besides this economic need, the dissemination of digital skills is a cornerstone for a more inclusive society. Europe will not be anymore the mirror for a welfare state if digital skills are not widely extend among all its population.

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palyginti kainas